Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yesterday, 115 students from Boynton Middle School in Ithaca released 64 brown trout fry to Fall Creek, in Plumbers Pool, just below Ithaca Falls. The students raised their fry from eggs over the course of 6 months, had fun, and learned a great deal along the way!

Prior to releasing the trout, we checked conditions of the creek. The students found it to have a pH of 7.6, which is slightly basic and correlates well with conditions in the aquarium where the trout were raised. Additionally the water temperature in the pool was still in the mid-fifties, although temperatures in the shallower water were about 62 degrees F. Its getting warm for most trout and salmon, in Fall Creek, but the browns will be OK. A quick check of insect life in the stream reveals quite a few stonefly larvae, which are indicators of good quality habitat and provide excellent food for brown trout.

The students concluded that Fall Creek will provide a good habitat, and completed the release. Now the trout will need to fend for themselves in a new environment. The habitat may be fine, but they'll need to content with the fishing Great Blue Heron we observed, bass, and other predators. To see more pictures, click here!

Congratulations to Mrs. Morton's 6th graders, and thanks to the Leon Chandler Trout Unlimited members, and all who helped! Check out our article in the Ithaca Journal!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lansing High School results of Cayuga Lake Measurments

Out on the floating laboratory on Cayuga Lake, we collected data on many aspects of the lake's environment including depth, water clarity, temperature, and types of organisms in the water. These were our results:

The measurements were taken in the middle of the lake, just North of Meyer's park. Specifically, the laboratory was stationed at 42° 32.125' North latitude, 76° 33.723' West longitude. On May 11th, conditions were calm and sunny; On May 12th, conditions were overcast and windy. Lake surface on both days was relatively calm with a few small waves and ripples.

The average air temperature recorded was 54.8 degrees, with a range between 46 and 64 degrees at different times in the day. Water pH and temperature samples were taken at varying depths, some as deep as 75 meters below the surface. Listed below is a range of temperatures and pH readings at various depths:

Depth(m) - Temperature(F) - pH

1 - 46 - 8

5 - 47 - 8

20 - 46 - 8.5

30 - 47 - 8

40 - 43 - 8

50 - 43 - 8

75 - 42 - *

* = no reading

Secchi disks, the devices used to read light penetration through the water, indicated an average visual depth of 4.78 meters, with reading ranging from 4.25 to 6 meters. These readings categorized Cayuga lake as Mesotrphic. Actual sunlight penetration depths are closer to twice the visual depth.

Plankton samples were also collected. Samples were taken from depths ranging fromhalf a meter to 20 meters, with an average sample depth of 9.3 meters. Most samples were collected at 8 meters. At 10 meters, samples collected contained lots of plankton and algae, coloring the water green. Samples at depths shallower than five or deeper than 10 were mostly clear, containing very little life. The most common types of phytoplankton found were Diatoms, small plankton that resemble snowflakes. The most common types of zooplankton were Calanoids, which look like very tiny fish with feelers.